Palmer Makes Believers Out of Sportwriters Fans


Arnold Palmer sat in the lunchroom between final 18s at the U.S. Open Sunday, wolfing a sandwich while chatting with sportwriters Bob Drum and Dan Jenkins. It was 1960 at Cherry Hills, the field had just played the morning 18, and Arnie had a plan.
He could drive the short par-4 first hole, a 346-yarder that played downhill. If I did that, Palmer wondered, I could shoot a 65. What would that do?
Drum didnt hesitate. He knew Palmer was seven strokes behind leader Mike Souchak. He knew there were 14 players between Palmer and the lead. So what would a 65 do?
Nothing, said Drum. Youre too far back.
It would give me 280, Arnie reasoned. Doesnt 280 always win the Open?
Yeah, when Hogan shoots it, said Jenkins.
Stung by the words, Palmer went out and, sure enough, drove the first green 346 yards away. Two putts later and he had a birdie. The impossible was about to become possible.
Arnie was torrid. He birdied six of his first seven holes. Only a putt that lipped out on the eighth cost him a front-side 29, Palmer settling instead for a 30.
That put him past a host of erstwhile contenders ' Mike Souchak, Dow Finsterwald, Ted Kroll, Jerry Barber, Juluis Boros, Dutch Harrison, a 20-year-old who finished second named Jack Nicklaus, and a 47-year-old who could knock down pins but putted pitifully, Ben Hogan.
Palmer never let up, barging into the winners circle and flinging that famed visor. Arnie had arrived.
More U.S. Open History